State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 01-03
May court clerical staff, with the knowledge of a judicial officer(s), change, alter, amend a charging document filed with the court that reflects a mismatch between the cited RCW section and the language of the cited RCW section appearing on the charging document so that the cited RCW and the language on the charging document match?
CJC Canon 2(A) provides in part that judges should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. Canon 3(B)(2) provides in part that judges should require their staff to observe the standards of fidelity and diligence that apply to them. CJC Canon 2(A) and 3(B)(2) prohibit a judicial officer from allowing court staff to change, alter or amend a charging document because that is an executive function and that practice would undermine the public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
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